A NEWPORT landlord is on a mission to clean up the city’s letting industry, as an investigation finds “most” Newport agents are breaching the code of practice.
Trading standards have found many letting agents are illegally leaving ‘To Let’ boards outside properties longer than the two weeks permitted, after the issue was highlighted to them by landlord, Debbie Rayner.
Mrs Rayner has been a landlord for 11 years, but 18 months ago she started her own letting agency – Freelancer Lets – after becoming frustrated with the industry.
She said: “I want to sort this industry out. It’s part of the reason I started the company – I wanted people to be treated fairly.”
Mrs Rayner sent evidence of a number of letting agents leaving boards up outside properties long after they have been let to the trading standards department at Newport council.
In one case, a board had been up for three years on Chepstow Road.
She said: “It makes people think they have more properties to let than they do. It’s false advertising. “
Although trading standards found no evidence to support formal action of fly boarding – the practice of placing a board adjacent to a property which the agency is not contracted to represent – Mrs Rayners’ concerns were warranted.
A Newport Council spokeswoman said: “During the investigation it was noted many letting agents do not adhere fully to the code of practice which regulates the industry. There is a rule that states a ‘Let By’ board may only be displayed for two weeks, most Newport agents were exceeding this time limit.
“As a result of this finding, advice was sent to all letting agents in Newport and trading standards is now in the process of testing whether the advice has been followed.”
Mrs Rayner, whose company is fully accredited with the Association of Residential Letting Agents, said: “It’s frustrating because we are trying to do the right thing and provide a good service.”
The council spokeswoman added: “Trading standards continues to investigate all allegations of non-compliance in relation to the display of such boards and where a problem is discovered, trading standards takes proportionate action.”